The New York Giants' options for finding a No. 2 wide receiver to pair with Odell Beckham Jr. are dwindling.
Could those signings, and the paucity of legitimate second receiving options still available, lead the Giants back to the guy they have been expected to replace -- Rueben Randle?
To be honest, I don't know if Randle and the Giants still have any interest in each other. They certainly didn't give the impression they were thrilled with each other when the 2015 season ended. Asked at the NFL Scouting Combine about wide receiver depth, head coach Ben McAdoo never mentioned Randle's name.
When the Giants and Randle evaluate the situation, however, could it be possible they conclude that the best option is for them to stick together?
Jermaine Kearse is probably the most attractive receiver left on the market, especially if you are hoping to get more than a one-year quick fix. The 26-year-old had a career-high 49 catches for the Seattle Seahawks last season. Randle had 71 receptions in 2014 and 57 last season in what was considered a disappointing year. Both are four-year veterans, and Randle's production (188 receptions, 20 TDs) dwarfs Kearse's (112 receptions, 10 TDs). Oh, and Randle still does not turn 25 until May.
James Jones is a free agent again after a 50-catch season with the Green Bay Packers. Jones is a 32-year-old possession receiver, however, and a short-term fix at best. The same can be said for 35-year-old Anquan Boldin, who has never caught less than 56 passes in a season during a 13-year career. Boldin caught 69 passes in 2015. Again, though, Boldin is obviously not more than a short-term answer.
While all of the receivers have been flying off the board, Randle's name has hardly come up at all. Unless there is a lot of interest behind the scenes that no one knows about, you can bet that Randle has noticed no one seems to be beating down his door while other less-productive receivers are getting big-money contracts.
Maybe a big-money deal is still out there somewhere for Randle. There are, however, not that many places left where he might find it.
Randle's four seasons with the Giants have been highlighted by inconsistency. There was that breakout 71-catch 2014 season, and there are occasionally spectacular catches and big plays. It's been fair to wonder if Randle was always giving his best, or getting the best out of the talent that made him a second-round pick by the Giants in 2012.
Perhaps the best answer for both sides, the wide receiver needy Giants and a young man who appears en route to missing out on a big payday he might have been anticipating, is a one-year "prove it" type contract. That would bring a player whose talent isn't questioned but who's focus sometimes is, back into the fold on the kind of deal that should ensure he puts his best foot forward.
That might help the Giants in 2016, and it might help Randle earn a mega-deal next offseason.